Become a Professional Business Broker
Professional business brokers are needed now more than ever. There are nearly 29 million small businesses (with fewer than 500 employees) in the U.S., 26 million in the E.U., 2.5 million in Australia, 1.25 million in Canada and millions more around the world.
The Baby Boom generation is starting to hit retirement age at a rate of 10,000 people a day in the U.S alone and the so-called Baby Boomer business sell-off is just starting. Demographers are referring to this imminent phenomenon as The Silver Tsunami.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 50% of small business – more than 14 million in the United States alone – are owned by people over 50 years old. Tens of thousands of businesses around the world will be coming to market over the next 10-15 years. Each will need the help of a professional business broker. And each sale will generate a very handsome commission.
Every business that does not fail will eventually be sold. Professional business brokers are needed NOW to advise the owners of millions of these businesses and to guide these transactions through to closing.
Because there are few jurisdictions anywhere in the world that require business brokers to be licensed, it’s pretty easy for anyone with no experience or training to hang out a sign and call themselves a business broker. But most of these folks have very little knowledge of what business brokering entails. (For a first hand example of this, check out this blog post on how I got started in this business.) Professionals are needed NOW. If you want to become one, we can show you the way.
Business brokering can be a VERY lucrative career. Commissions paid to business brokers range between 8% and 12%. Though we work with businesses that range in value between $250,000 and $25 million, the majority of our work is with businesses valued at between $500,000 and $10 million. Do the math. Selling one $1 million business means a very handsome commission.
If you want to become a professional business broker, we offer an ongoing series of courses that will teach you all aspects of business brokering. If you’d like an efficient and inexpensive way to learn how to find businesses to sell, how to value those businesses and how to market and ultimately sell those businesses, we have the tools you need to make it happen.
Are You a Candidate?
Brokering the sale of businesses is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It takes work. We’re not interested in working with people who are not willing to fully commit to this profession. We want to work only with people that are serious enough to acquire what we believe is the minimum amount of knowledge and expertise required to become a qualified professional business broker. If that does not describe you, I respectfully suggest that you save your time and money, and look elsewhere. And, if you know somebody that this does describe, please forward this to them so that they can get started earning some serious commissions.
But if you’re serious about becoming a professional business broker, you need to have the basic subject knowledge that we’ve packaged into an initial four-module program titled The Basic “How To” of Becoming a Business Broker®. Each module, comprised of between six and 12 chapters, addresses one of the four primary aspects of business brokering:
- Introduction to Business Brokering (Understanding what we do.)
- Finding Businesses to Sell
- Valuing Businesses (This is a revenue-generator in itself!)
- Finding and Working With Buyers
It Works Like This
The program is limited to 50 attendees (to keep the weekly live webinars manageable). In structuring the lectures, we’ve tried to keep in mind that you have other responsibilities and have limited the length of the lectures to between 20 and 35 minutes. Lectures may include a webinar and a video, which may be live or recorded. There are also downloadable PDF documents and a transcription of each lecture is also downloadable once the lecture is completed. At the end of each module we recap and review the important points of that module.
We do a deep dive into each of the topics we discuss and, as you’re progressing through each module, I encourage you to submit questions that I, or one of our brokers, will answer. As soon as you’re comfortable with one module, you can go on to the next one. Learn at your own pace
Once you complete this basic course, you’ll have enough information to launch your business brokerage practice – or add it to your Realtor practice. Like anything else, however, there is a great deal more to learn and we’ve developed many follow up individual courses that you can take whenever you want and that will go a long way toward improving and expanding your practice – and you are strongly encouraged to take them.
What You’ll Learn
The program modules are listed above but here is a bit more detail of what each module covers.
1) Introduction to Business Brokering
In this module, you’ll learn the basics of business brokering including
- What does a business broker do? The processes and steps from start to finish.
- Who are the most logical candidates to become business brokers?
- How do you get started?
- Should you be a sole practitioner and what would it take to set up shop?
- The pros and cons of specializing.
- What’s the difference between working in the Main Street market versus the Middle Market?
- How large is the market for business transactions?
- What should you charge and how will you get paid?
- Co-broking with other business brokers
- Working with real estate agents
2) Finding Businesses to Sell
In this module, we’ll show you many of the ways of finding and listing businesses to sell. Depending on the market you decide to focus on – Main Street businesses or Mid-Market businesses – the methods sometimes overlap but often are different.
- How to get known as an expert.
- What groups should you join?
- The nuances of networking.
- How to use direct mail.
- Using online databases.
3) Valuing Businesses
In this module, we teach you how to value a business. When we value a business, we get paid for that work. We offer this service to clients other than business owners such as bankers, attorneys, accountants and others. Our fee varies depending on the size and complexity of the business we are valuing but this service alone can provide a handsome revenue stream for a business broker’s office. After you complete this module, you’ll be able to value most small and mid-market businesses. And, if you feel that you need help with valuing your first few assignments, we’re available to lend a hand.
- What does the “Most Probable Selling Price” mean?
- How to account for inventory in the valuation
- How to treat the furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E)
- What documents will you need to perform a valuation?
- How to analyze and recast financial statements
- What are “Discretionary Earnings”?
- Should you take an assignment to value a business even if the owners will not list the business for sale?
- What can the valuation be used for other than to show the client the business’ value?
4) Finding and Working with Buyers
In this final module of the course, you’ll learn the intricacies of how to market the businesses you list for sale and how to work with buyers.
- What marketing vehicles should you use?
- What marketing is appropriate for Main St versus Mid-Market Businesses.
- What are the two most useful marketing tools and how to develop them.
- Confidentiality in the marketing process.
- The different types of buyers.
- The characteristics of the ideal buyer.
- How to educate the buyer.
- Financing the purchase: How to help the buyer find the money.
We know that, just because you’ve completed all the modules, you may not be 100% confident that you can hit the streets and start selling businesses! So for anyone that completes the four-module program, we include three months of access to a weekly online conference during which we answer questions sent in by you and others. We want to make sure that during your first few months in the industry you have the support you need to be successful. And beyond that, you can sign up for as many additional weeks as you like.
Join Your Peers! Help and be Helped!
Even after all that, we still want to offer whatever help and advice you may need. And we want to bring a lot of experience and brainpower to the table to do so.
We are in the process of forming a closed membership forum – The Brokers Roundtable℠– so that you can learn from the real-life brokering experiences of others such as brokers in our system and those that have gone through the program before you. And we’re hoping that, as you gain more experience, you’ll be in the forum giving – as well as getting – advice.
Everyone that completes the program in entitled to a FREE three-month membership in the The Brokers Roundtable℠. More on this in a moment.
Additional Stand-Alone Courses
Though once you’ve finished these basic program and you’re on your way to establishing a professional business brokers practice, there is, of course, much more to learn that will greatly enhance your professionalism and help expand your business. These additional courses are offered as stand-alone units and you can take one or more – or none – as your practice and needs dictate.
- Understanding the Balance Sheet
A statement of a company’s net worth.
- Seller Financing
How to close the gap.
- The Listing Process
A step-by-step, in depth discussion of what you do when you take a listing.
- When to Walk Away
There are deals that you just don’t want.
Specific documents and marketing packages that we’ve used successfully.
- Managing the Due Diligence Process
You’ve got a buyer and an offer to purchase is signed. Now what?
- Finding Financing
Where the money is and what the buyer needs to do to get it.
- Developing Buyer’s and Seller’s Seminars
How to develop and conduct seminars to attract buyers and sellers
- Developing a Buyer’s Broker Practice
What is an M&A specialist and how you can become one.
The Brokers’ Roundtable℠
We are planning the launch of The Brokers’ Roundtable℠, an exclusive members-only forum, by mid-2020. Aside from connecting you to brokers who have taken the Basic Course as well as to members of our team, certain membership levels in the Roundtable will provide access to dozens of forms, contacts, lenders, attorneys, vendors, document templates and countless other tools to expand and grow your business brokers/business advisors practice.
Once you get your practice started, you’ll need a bunch of collateral stuff. If you plan to focus solely on listing and selling businesses, you’ll need forms such as listing agreements, purchase contracts, bills of sale, financing statements, notes (for seller-financed deals), collateral agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements (NDA), letters of intent (LOI), etc.
If your business plan includes assisting start ups or offering business consulting to help existing firms grow, you may need design talent for logos, web development talent for the creation of websites, forms for entity formation, partnership agreements, organizational documents, operating and marketing manual templates and more.
In addition, your clients – sellers, buyers or owners needing advice – will likely need financing sources, accounting talent and legal representation, early on and over time.
All of these things are available to anyone who completes the four-module course program and joins The Brokers’ Roundtable℠ where you’ll have access to all of that plus the talent and experience of your peers and fellow Roundtable members. You can get additional assistance with any transaction from not only those of us at Worldwide Business Brokers but also from any of the brokers that have taken our courses and are themselves members of the Roundtable. Post a question, ask for advice, connect with others in the same industry and enjoy the benefit of the many cumulative years of experience of the professionals in the business brokerage/business advisors industry.
Coaching for Business Brokers
Need to chat about some problem you’re having with a deal? Are the numbers funky? Is the seller challenging? Is there a convoluted lease involved? If there appears to be a roadblock holding up a deal you’re trying to get closed, there’s a reasonable chance we’ve encountered it before.
Each deal is different. We’ve been brokering businesses since 2001 and have hit a lot of stumbling blocks that needed some ingenuity to find a way around. We can help you find the solution to whatever issue you encounter.
We do this through one-on-one coaching, though due to time constraints, we must limit this to ten individuals at one time.
You do not have to take our basic courses – or any course – in order to sign on for some serious coaching. If you’re starting off as a broker – or in the early stages of building your practice – we’re available to help you with any question or problem.
Details and Pricing
If you’re unsure about how to proceed, you can find discussions on many business brokering topics – and many general business topics – on our blog and podcast, WBBN-fm as well as our social media, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (@WorldwideBizB). Check ‘em out. You might find some very useful information.
Whether you’re a novice and want to begin a career as a professional business broker, a Realtor that wants to expand your business, or you’re already active in business brokering and feel you just need some help with a couple of challenging issues, if you’re ready to get started, let me know by emailing me at Joe@WorldwideBusinessBlog.com.
I look forward to hearing from you – and hope to see you in the course!